Westminster City Council (20 005 527)

Category : Adult care services > Domiciliary care

Decision : Not upheld

Decision date : 01 Feb 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: Ms X complains about the Care Provider’s decision to end a care agreement for her mother. We have discontinued our investigation to allow the Council to investigate the complaint.

The complaint

  1. Ms X complains about the decision to end her mother’s (Mrs Y’s) package of care.
  2. The Council commissioned services from Respect Care Services (the Care Provider). Ms X complains that the Care Provider:
  • gave one weeks’ notice to end the package of care. She believes this was in retaliation to a complaint made by the family;
  • failed to discuss any concerns with the family before making its decision; and
  • made false statements about the family and shared these with the Council as reasons for ending the package of care.
  1. Ms X says this caused distress and uncertainty for Mrs Y and her family.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We investigate complaints about councils and certain other bodies. Where an individual, organisation or private company is providing services on behalf of a council, we can investigate complaints about the actions of these providers. (Local Government Act 1974, section 25(7), as amended)
  1. If we are satisfied with a council’s actions or proposed actions, we can complete our investigation and issue a decision statement. (Local Government Act 1974, section 30(1B) and 34H(i), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered the information and documentation provided by Ms X and the Council. I discussed the complaint with Ms X.
  2. I wrote to Ms X and the Council with a copy of my draft decision and invited their comments.

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What I found

  1. Mrs Y is 92 years old. The Council arranged for the Care Provider to provide a package of care to support Mrs Y at home. This included two carers to support Mrs Y with her personal care every Monday morning. The Care Provider has provided this care for over six years.
  2. On 19 April 2020 Mrs Y’s son (Mr D) contacted the Care Provider’s out of hours service to ensure that two carers would be attending the next morning. Ms X explained this was because there had been three consecutive Mondays where only one carer had turned up. Mrs Y had not had a shower since 16 March 2020.
  3. However, only one carer arrived the next morning. Mr D contacted the Care Provider and registered a formal complaint. The Care Provider visited Mr D on the same day to discuss the complaint in more detail.
  4. On 21 April 2020 the Council contacted Mr D and said the Care Provider would be terminating Mrs Y’s care package in one week. The Care Provider said there had been a breakdown in the relationship with Mrs Y’s family.
  5. Ms X complained to the Care Provider about the short notice to end that package during COVID-19. She also asked the Care Provider to explain the reasons for its decision and basis for its statement that the family had been inconsiderate and rude to carers.
  6. The Care Provider responded to the complaint on 3 June 2020. Ms X remained unsatisfied and asked the Ombudsman to investigate her complaint.
  7. On 6 January 2021 the Council asked the Ombudsman for the opportunity to investigate the complaint with the Care Provider, to obtain a satisfactory resolution for Ms X and Mrs Y.
  8. Ms X has agreed to the Council’s proposals and therefore I do not intend to investigate Ms X’s complaint any further at this stage.
  9. We would expect the Council to discuss the complaint with Ms X and investigate and respond to the complaint within 20 working days of my final decision. If Ms X remains unsatisfied with the final response from the Council, she can resubmit her complaint to the Ombudsman.

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Final decision

  1. I have discontinued my investigation to allow the Council the opportunity to investigate the complaint.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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